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St. Thomas Aquinas High School: The College Football Factory

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Remember that insanely talented secondary I talked about back at the end of 2014? If you didn’t get a chance to read about them, here’s the link to St. Thomas Aquinas’ Secondary in a matchup against ESPN’s #1 ranked athlete, George Campbell. I said that this was the most talented secondary in the nation, and National Signing day has done nothing but added to that argument. I’m not going to talk about just the secondary this time though. This school is a college football, and even an NFL factory. St. Thomas Aquinas, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida has been a national high school football powerhouse for years, but this year was even more special. 17 players from this team signed their national letter of intent to play D1 football.

Colin Byrne and Sam Clausman will be calling Syracuse home for the next four years as offensive linemen. Sam and Colin have grown very close throughout their high school experience and decided that they wanted to go to college together. Sam Clausman said, “Going to college with one of my best friends is going to be awesome.” Another offensive linemen that has already signed is Phillip Parchment, and he will be attending University of Pennsylvania. Phillip is excited that football has helped him get the opportunity to go to an ivy-league college and ultimately get a great education while playing the game he loves. Richerd Desir-Jones will be playing football for the University of Florida. Jones played defensive line up until about halfway through his junior season. Since then, he has played more O-line. It seems that Jones will be playing offensive line for the Gators, but either way Florida is getting a guy that is powerful and has the ability to play on both sides of the football.

Who benefitted from having those O-linemen opening up holes? Jordan Scarlett and Deltron Sands did. Deltron Sands will be attending Oregon State University. Sands is an elusive, quick running back who plays much more physically than his size would suggest. His strongest attribute is his agility. If you don’t know the name Jordan Scarlett yet, then give it a google or something. He’s 5’11, 207 pounds with 4.4 speed. This 4-star flipped from University of Miami to University of Florida two days before signing day. Here’s a little sneak peak of what Jordan Scarlett can do in open space.

The St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders are graduating two receivers, Devante Peete and Jawuan Harris. Peete, a 6’5, 200 pound wide receiver, signed to play at Louisville. He has every physical attribute to be a very good wide receiver at the college level, and beyond. If Louisville can polish him up a little bit, he has the potential to become one of the best receivers in the country. Rutgers landed, in my opinion, one of the most underrated receivers in the nation. If you haven’t seen his game, or don’t know much about him, think Julian Edelman. Rutgers had a young receiving corp last year, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if Harris didn’t make an immediate impact on the offensive side of the football, but if nothing else, look for him to make a BIG impact on special teams. He’s a great return man, and loves to hit. I see him playing on the punt team, the punt return team, the kickoff team, and the kickoff return team until he proves what he can do at receiver.

Now to the defensive side of the ball.

Wyatt Ray will be attending Boston College. Ray is a 6’4, 230 pound defensive end with ability to play in a three or two point stance. Boston College is losing a defensive end and an outside linebacker to graduation, so Ray will have an opportunity to play early. Brandon Boyce is a 5’11, 250 pound defensive tackle who will be playing for the Duke Blue Devils. The Blue Devils are also graduating some players. Boyce could benefit from the fact that Duke is losing three defensive linemen. 

Rashard Causey surprised me a little bit with his commitment to University of Central Florida. According to ESPN, Causey had offers all over the country including at least one from every power 5 conference. He is a shutdown corner who will be fighting for a starting spot from day one. The upside is that Causey will be close to home, and he will get playing time early. Lance Deveaux Jr. will be attending Northern Illinois University. Deveaux is a free safety who did a great job ball hawking for the St. Thomas, but he also does a good job in run support for a free safety.

Damon Arnette, a versatile defensive back, will be joining the best coach in college football at Ohio State University. Arnette possesses the cover skills to play corner at the next level along with the run stopping ability to play a nickel or strong safety position. Personally, I like him best in a nickel position where he can use his length to blitz, stop the run, and cover slot guys. The next defensive back is James “Pop” Oliphant, who signed to UMass. Pop is probably the best pure cover guy at St. Thomas, but his size is undeniably holding him back from being a power five defensive back. He stands in at 5’7 150, but that wasn’t going to stop him from playing D1 football. Pop will be in a position battle for a starting corner job from day one. He is one of the best return men in the state of Florida. James was the main return man for the Raiders and I would be surprised if UMass went in another direction for that job.

Utah landed a great package deal when Tyson Cisrow and Chris Hart committed there. Tyson was St. Thomas’ strong safety, and Chris Hart played linebacker. Both of these guys have been impact players for two years. Cisrow had this to say about going to Utah with Hart, “We made the decision together. It’ll be great playing at the next level with Chris. I think we can both go play early and make an impact in the PAC-12.

Last, but not least, the Saint Thomas Aquinas punter, Michael Duvernois will be playing football at Bowling Green.

“Our class was more than a team. We were a family. We all know we have each others’ backs on anything. I would go to war with any one of these guys because I know they would fight for me harder than they would fight for themselves, and they know I would do the same for them. I can’t really describe the feeling of walking across the stage of the state finals game with my brothers, you had to be there to feel it. It has been an amazing year, and I wouldn’t have wanted to do it with any other guys.”

-Sam Clausman

STA Grad class

Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Blake Giusti

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